OAKLAND — The owner of a residence on Smithfield Road is working to improve the appearance of his yard and house, which the town manager said is hurting others’ property values.

Bruce O’Clair lives in a mobile home on 8 Smithfield Road, where he keeps hogs and has pieces of wood and metal, as well as various other items, scattered on his property. He came to the Town Council meeting Wednesday night to give an update and discuss a timeline for improvements.

Code Enforcement Officer Robert Ellis said that, according to legal documents, the town had asked O’Clair to clean up his property before, in 2015, because it was in violation of the town’s property ordinance. He was making “good headway,” Ellis said, but then started to go backward and collect things in his yard again.

The problem had become worse recently, Ellis said, and he provided photos to councilors. As of Wednesday night, though, O’Clair had made a “marked improvement,” Ellis said.

O’Clair said he was “going through hell” trying to clean up his property for the town while working.

“You people don’t like it when I come down to the Town Office for general assistance,” he said during the meeting. O’Clair said that while the council might think his items are junk, he can sell them to buy things such as food or use them for projects instead of buying more material.


“It’s what I have,” he said. “I’m not a rich man.”

Council Chairman Mike Perkins said the council is willing to work with O’Clair if he would work with them, and that they weren’t trying to push him out of town. “I think times are tough for everybody,” he said.

O’Clair said that, with his busy work schedule, he wouldn’t be able to get everything fixed within the time frame the town asked for, which would be in the next 21 days.

The council gave him a deadline of Sept. 10, by which time O’Clair said he should have about 90 percent of the problems solved.

“If he fixes it, I’m happy,” Town Manager Gary Bowman said after the meeting. “If he doesn’t, then the council made the wrong decision.”

In other business, the council also voted to carry forward $364,964 of balances, 4-0. Councilor Mark Fisher was absent from the meeting.


Councilors also voted to approve an increase in the fund balance by $113,661, 4-0, putting $110,232 in fund equity and the rest in a reserve for capital improvements.

This is the largest fund equity increase since the 1990s, said Doug Mather, the finance director. He also said this had been the town’s “best year financially” since he began working there.

The total excess revenue and unspent money was $428,661, and $215,000 went toward funding the 2016-17 budget. Bowman and Mather recommended that $100,000 be taken from fund equity and reserve funds to replenish the municipal building reserve fund.

Bowman also discussed the new police station, which should be open in the first week of September. The project came out “substantially under budget.”

The council then went into executive session after touring the station.

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @madelinestamour

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